The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

Deck the Halls: Ammonite Court Sets Up Holiday Light Show

Photo by Georgia Scherrer
6997 Ammonite Place in Carlsbad shines bright amidst a Saturday sunset. Decorations are synched to a radio station playing various holiday-themed songs.

With the winter season comes the unwinding of strands of holiday lights and the blow-up of inflatable snowmen. The day after Thanksgiving is typically when holiday lights are put up, and holiday festivities begin in both largely populated cities and their opposing suburbia.  

However, the sought-after celebrations are not the only ones enjoyed by people during the festive season. In Carlsbad, a small suburban street named Ammonite Place highlights the holiday season with festive lights, baked goods and more, all within the same cul-de-sac. 

On Dec. 2 and 3 from roughly 5 to 9 p.m., residents and visitors alike come together to celebrate the holidays with different contributions from

The holiday lights at 6989 Ammonite Place turn on as the sun goes down. The display exhibits the wonders that are possible during the holiday festivities taking place in Carlsbad. (Photo by Georgia Scherrer)

a scavenger hunt to a collective radio station, 104.1 FM, playing in cars driving by. This tradition has been prevalent since 2013 and continues to carry on. 

Collective neighborhoods take part around San Diego county in contributing to the distribution of lights, festivities and cheer, but Ammonite Place sets itself apart with its values of family, friends and community.

Local resident Ian Burgess drives past the light display frequently to enjoy the holiday cheer that Ammonite encapsulates.

“I love to see a community come together to make such a beautiful display every year,” Burgess said. “Especially seeing firsthand the neighbors building the display is neat!” 

Each house starts the setup process with its own individual decorations and light methods. Ron Smith, one of the homeowners on Ammonite, explained how. 

“The lights at every house are managed by a control box, which is operated by a computer, which connects to a VPN,” Smith described. 

That’s only the beginning of the setup process. As different houses are occupied, different setups must be bought, connected and incorporated into the full design. Smith noted that if residents add decorations bit by bit each year, the total cost isn’t exponential. 

Aside from the cost, other environmental conflicts need to be taken into consideration. Due to Ammonite Place being a relatively small street with only 19 houses, there’s a risk of the traffic from the neighborhood backing up to the main street, El Camino Real. 

During the setup process, because of seasonal weather, even a slight

As cars pass by 6972 Ammonite Place, they are able to tune into a radio channel that is synced with the lights. One of the first houses on the court displays a neon sign that reads: “Tune to 104.1.” (Photo by Georgia Scherrer)

change in precipitation, rain, wind or temperature can pose a threat to the well-being of the individual bulbs. 

The only thing not problematic is the timing. Setting up a full house decoration and synchronized music with lights only takes two to four days with the help and support of family members.

Taking all of this into consideration, one question remains: Why do it in the first place? 

“It’s fun getting a reaction out of people, seeing the kids come by, and seeing their minds be blown by the lights,” Smith said. “We’ve also been donating to charity. Last year we raised $10,000 for a service dog charity organization, Canine Companions.” 

Ron emphasizes that his favorite part of the decorations is not his own joy, but the joy brought to others: 

“We see the same kids each year and we see families come back. So we’re not just adding to our tradition, we’re adding to their traditions.”

What truly sets Ammonite Place apart from other neighborhoods during the month of December, beyond festive lights and baked goods, is what the holiday season means to them. People often crowd the court to take photos to remember this cheerful season by and to spend time with family. Some locals even have a favorite song that is synchronized with the display. 

“Obviously, the Star Wars Main Theme is the best one,” Burgess concluded. 

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